As a young girl and a student of history, I would daydream of one day visiting Rome, to walk the streets of this ancient city and to experience it’s history first hand. Finally, after all those years, I was on my way to see the Rome of my childhood dreams.
I arrived in Rome by train from Paris, late at night and as I walked through Rome’s Termini station, I was pleased I had had the foresight to book a driver to take me to my accommodation.
Like many transit stations across the world, Rome Termini, becomes a place for undesirable behaviors and an unsafe place for women to be, late at night. My driver was fantastic, he was there early and came into the station to collect me so that I would not have to wait outside on my own. I felt very safe and the driver was very friendly, and we had a lovely chat on the way to my accommodation at Place 24 Wellness Suites, where the amazing Dario had stayed back late to check me in. Place 24 Wellness Suites, is a lovely little boutique accommodation on the top floor of a beautiful old building, just away from the madness that is Rome, but close enough for a walk through the ancient streets to see the sights. Dario, showed we through and brought me a much-needed espresso as I retired to my room, the perfect place for a solo traveling girl.
Early in the morning, I arose and headed out to treat myself to breakfast, a feast of Italian pastry and coffee, in the Piazza del Popolo, and to explore the ancient city.
Rome is very easy to get around on by foot and Piazza del Popolo is a great place to start your daily adventure. There are three streets that fan out from the Piazza and each takes you to the main sites for visitors to the city, as well as surrounding you with beautiful architecture and a sense of old.
For me, a meander along the first street I came to, led me to The Spanish Steps (which were under repair while I was there). Not far from here I found the Hop on Hop Off bus, and with a tour around the city, I quickly got my bearings and for the rest of my visit, I was able to make my way around on foot (just be careful of the traffic in Rome, you are expected to walk out in front of cars, otherwise they will not stop even at a crossing).
In terms of historical sites, great food experiences and interesting people, Rome does not disappoint. Just being within sight of buildings and ruins, like the Colosseum and the Pantheon, built thousands of years ago, is an indescribable experience. The tourist hordes and the local scam artists, however for me, dampened my desire to stay for too long. It’s not too hard to escape them though and lots of not so popular sites with just as much history, to be found if you wander away on your own. A stroll through the back streets of Rome led me to a lovely little street lined on one side by lovely little shops and on the other side, what I would soon find out to be the back side of the Pantheon.
For a woman traveling on my own, Rome was easy to navigate and I generally felt quite safe, except around the major tourist sites where, I felt the need to be hyper-aware of my surroundings.
The tourist scammers in Rome are very aggressive and often won’t take no for an answer, unlike in other parts of the world. The Italian Police stand by and watch the scams happen, perhaps powerless to curb the problem, but as a solo traveller, this did not bode well with me. It was in Rome where I was almost caught out by someone, trying to scan by cards with their mobile phone that gave me the inspiration to design my range of travel handbags.
Rome can be very expensive with food prices around the tourist haunts more than double that of places around other parts of Rome. Breakfast on my first morning very nearly cost me my first born child. Look for where the locals are eating and you will save a ton of money. Only a few streets away from the busy areas, I found coffee for 1 Euro and the best pastries I had during my time there.
Overall, Rome provided me with a glimpse into the past and satisfied the desire I had to visit since learning about it’s history all those years ago.